It seems to me that there are really two types of Pinot Noir being made in California now. The first is a more tart, peppery, herbal wine that has a balance of fruit (like berries and bing cherries) and acidity that can often include notes of clove, eucalyptus, smoke, pine, etc. These are wines that pay homage to the Burgundy forebearers of everything Pinot Noir.
The second is a newer style of more extracted, forward fruit. These are wines that are rounder on the palate, juicier, and in addition to larger bouquets, generally have more undertones of rasberry, thimbleberry, and red currant.
I like both of these styles when done well, and the 2001 Flowers Sonoma Coast is definitely in the first category -- a classic, smooth Pinot that was a delight to drink. It is easy to understand why this wine never even sees the outside of the Flowers tasting room and private mailing list before being completely bought up.
The wine is brilliant ruby red, and velvety and smooth on the tongue with a nice tartness that speaks of some acidity. Its a moderately strong wine (14.2%) but there is not a 'hot' finish to the wine that would be present in a poorly made Pinot. Instead there is a lovely lingering taste of smoky eucalyptus and redcurrant. The only thing that I can find wrong with this wine is that it does not have much of a nose. I wasn't drinking from a particularly great glass, which may be part of the problem, but the aromas in the glass didn't match the complexity in the mouth.
We had a few glasses with some home made foccacia bread with artichokes and red onion and a roasted pepper and chickpea cold salad, and the wine was a wonderful balance against the hearty bread and the balsamic vinaigrette of the salad.
Overall score: 9.0
How much?: $43
I bought my bottle through Porthos, but it looks like they are currently out of stock. If you can get your hands on this anywhere, I highly recommend it. It's clear that this wine will cellar for a long time (5-8 recommended by the vintner).
A wine book like no other. Photographs, essays, and wine recommendations. Learn more.
The Changing Love of Pinot Noir? Vinography Images: Patchwork California Wine Country Macabre The Latitudes and Longitudes of Pinot Noir Vinography Unboxed: Week of March 15th, 2015 Vinography Images: The Rockpile Do You Need to Worry About Arsenic in Your Wine? At What Price, To Kalon? Rhone Rangers Tasting: March 28, Richmond, CA Vinography Images: Happy Tree
Wine Will Never Smell the Same Again: Luca Turin and the Science of Scent Forlorn Hope: The Remarkable Wines of Matthew Rorick Debating Robert Parker At His Invitation Passopisciaro Winery, Etna, Sicily: Current Releases Should We Care What Winemakers Say? The Sweet Taste of Freedom: Austria's Ruster Ausbruch Wines 2009 Burgundy Vintage According to Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Charles Banks: The New Man Behind Mayacamas Wine from the Caldera: The Incredible Viticulture of Santorini Why Community Tasting Notes Sites Will Fail Chateau Rayas and the 2012 Vintage of Chateauneuf-du-Pape A Life Indomitable: The Wines of Casal Santa Maria, Portugal Bay Area Bordeaux: Tasting Santa Cruz Mountain Cabernets Forgotten Jewels: Reviving Chile's Old Vine Carignane The First-Timer's Guide to Les Trois Glorieuses of Hospices de Beaune